We Poor Labouring Men

DESCRIPTION: "O, some do say the farmer's best, but I do need say no, If it weren't for we poor labouring men what would the farmers do?...There's never a trade in old England like we poor labouring men." The singer toasts laborers; good times will come again
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1962 or 1966 (collected from Caroline Hughes); the Butterworth/Dawney version is probably from 1909
LONG DESCRIPTION: "O, some do say the farmer(baker, butcher)'s best, but I do need say no, If it weren't for we poor labouring men what would the farmers do? They would beat up all their old odd stuff until some new come in. There's never a trade in old England like we poor labouring men." After several of these verses, the singer offers a toast to labourers, saying that when the hard times pass, good times will come again
KEYWORDS: pride farming work hardtimes nonballad worker
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Butterworth/Dawney, pp. 46-47, "We poor labouring men" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacSeegTrav 103, "We Dear Labouring Men" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-ECS, #33, "We Poor Labouring Men" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, WELABOUR

Roud #1394
RECORDINGS:
Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, "We Poor Labouring Men" (on ENMacCollSeeger02)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Come All You Jolly Ploughboys" (theme, lyrics)
NOTES: MacColl/Seeger [write,] "During the years between 1790 and 1816, the English peasant was turned into a wage-labourer. The transformation was not a peaceful one; the intensification of the enclosure system, repressive poor-law legislation, extension of more rigorous application of the game-laws coupled with an unprecendented rise in the cost of living, all combined to produce a new and intense class-consciousness among the labouring poor." - PJS
In fact the process took a good deal longer than this, and it was the pressure of unemployed workers which forced the British government to open the vent by sending convicts to Australia. The Industrial Revolution began to produce unemployment in the early eighteenth century, and the unrest was not entirely eased until the dawn of the twentieth.
This song and "Come All You Jolly Ploughboys" appear to be sisters; I've no idea which came first. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.7
File: McCST103

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